Desmond Elliott Prize Winner: Picador’s Maddie Mortimer

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Administered by the National Centre for Writing in Norwich, the Desmond Elliott Prize honors an author’s first published novel.

Fye Bridge over the River Wensum in Norwich, where the Desmond Elliott Prize is administered. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Yackers

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

The Desmond Elliott Prize’s 13th Year
Winners of the Desmond Elliott Prize in England have been announced this evening (July 1).

Named for the late literary agent and publisher, the program pays £10,000 (US$12,093) for a first (published) novel written in English. It’s administered by the National Centre for Writing in Norwich.

And the winner named is author Maddie Mortimer for Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies (Pan Macmillan/Picador, March 31).

The other two shortlisted contenders were:

Former Desmond Elliott Prize winner Derek Owusu, who won the award in 2020 for his debut That Reminds Me; chaired the jury, joined by journalist and author Symeon Brown; and Cheltenham Literature Festival’s program and commissioning manager Lyndsey Fineran.

The Desmond Elliott Prize is one of three early career awards. The other two are the University of East Anglia (UEA) New Forms Award, worth £4,000 (US$4,837), for an innovative and daring new voice in fiction, and the Laura Kinsella Fellowship, also worth £4,000, to recognise an exceptional writer “who has experienced limiting circumstances.”

Previous winners of the Desmond Elliott include:

  • 2021: The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blackmore (Granta)
  • 2020: That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu (Merky Books)
  • 2019: Golden Child by Claire Adam (Faber & Faber)
  • 2018: We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (Galley Beggar Press)
  • 2017: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (Faber & Faber)
  • 2016: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (John Murray)
  • 2015: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree)
  • 2014: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Galley Beggar Press/Faber)
  • 2013: The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber (Sceptre)
  • 2012: The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen (Chatto & Windus)
  • 2011: Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate)
  • 2010: The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic Books)
  • 2009: Blackmoor by Edward Hogan (Simon & Schuster)
  • 2008: Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking)

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 122nd awards-related report produced in the 123 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More from Publishing Perspectives on book and publishing awards is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s market, easily the busiest in the world with awards programs, is here.

And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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